A Great Idea to Help You Set Big Goals!

Continuing the conversation with my friend, Alisa Cohn, MG100 Coach and one of Boston’s Top 10 Coaches (Women’s Business), we focus our attention this week on big goals, exit strategy, and “finish lines.”

How do you easily achieve big goals and major milestones? What’s your exit strategy? How do you know when you’ve achieved your goal, or made it to a or the “finish line”? Alisa and I answer these questions and more in the following conversation.

Marshall: Last week we talked a little about venture capitalists (VCs). One person that I’ve worked with is Dan Levitan, CEO of a company called Maveron. Dan has been an incredibly successful venture capitalist and in fact, I’ll share a video interview series we did together next year.

One of the learnings from venture capital that you can apply to life, which I learned from Dan, is called the “Exit Strategy.” Dan uses this professionally, and I decided to use this to look at my own life. I’m nearly 70 years old and I’m not getting any younger, I look at my life and I say, “What do I want to do before I exit here? What I wanted to do before I die?”

This has been a very positive and helpful idea. Because of it I came up with my 100 Coaches idea of giving away everything I know to 100 people and the only thing that they have to do in return is do the same when it comes their turn. The Exit Strategy for me has been a wonderful learning and practicing it has led to some wonderful projects for me.

It’s good for people to do at all ages, by the way!

Because even a younger person can look back on their life and say, “Wait a minute. What do I really want to achieve while I’m here on earth? What do I want to make sure I want to accomplish before I exit, so I have a good quote “exit strategy”? Alisa, what are some of the things you’ve learned from either VCs or perhaps startup people that are lessons that apply in life to any of us?

Alisa: First of all, the thought of the Exit Strategy is great. In my work, I’ve translated this concept for people and I call it drawing a finish line.

So, people can draw finish lines, large and small, to help them celebrate successes and milestones along the way that lead to bigger and greater exits or “finish lines”.  In my own life, because it’s so easy to be focused solely on achievement and not celebrating milestones and successes along the way, it’s a way to motivate myself, and I encourage my clients to do the same. Also, leaders have to motivate the people around them and using this concept of finish lines to help them is very powerful.

When we talk about the concept of finish lines, VCs will talk about the 10X. Often, they aren’t interested in a business that is going to double or triple, they want businesses that have 10X or more in terms of potential.

So, when it comes to this concept of 10X, I ask people to consider what is the one that that they can do that is going to 10X their results. When you think about it this way, it gives you a very difference experience to incremental improvement.

Marshall: That’s a great idea! It gets you more into the realm of breakthrough thinking not just incremental change. Thanks Alisa for this wonderful insight!


Marshall Goldsmith’s
100 Coaches ‘pay it forward’ legacy project is making great progress. On April 27, in addition to the first 25 members, Marshall announced 30 fantastic new participants (out of over 12,000 applicants). In 2017, 45 more top professionals will be selected (mostly from outside the US). In 2018, Marshall plans to select an additional 100 Aspiring Coaches. This group will be selected on their potential to make a positive difference and pay it forward in the future. If you would like to apply, please to go MarshallGoldsmith.com/application. We look forward to receiving your applications!